An Open Drug Discovery Competition: Experimental Validation of Predictive Models in a Series of Novel Antimalarials.
The Open Source Malaria (OSM) consortium is developing compounds that kill the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, by targeting PfATP4, an essential ion pump on the parasite surface. The structure of PfATP4 has not been determined. Here, we describe a public competition created to develop a predictive model for the identification of PfATP4 inhibitors, thereby reducing project costs associated with the synthesis of inactive compounds. Competition participants could see all entries as they were submitted. In the final round, featuring private sector entrants specializing in machine learning methods, the best-performing models were used to predict novel inhibitors, of which several were synthesized and evaluated against the parasite. Half possessed biological activity, with one featuring a motif that the human chemists familiar with this series would have dismissed as "ill-advised". Since all data and participant interactions remain in the public domain, this research project "lives" and may be improved by others.
Online Publication Date
Royal Society (RGF/EA/180034)
Royal Society (URF\R\201002)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L015552/1)